I work in retail and my company says it's starting to look at how we might reopen later in the summer. This is making me so anxious, even though I don't have any special health issues. I'm going to wear a mask, but not all the customers may do so. I used to take the bus to work, I don't have a car and I think it's too far to cycle. And I'm not even sure if my kids will be back at school by then! The thought of returning to work is keeping me awake at night. Do I have to go back to work?

It’s understandable you’re feeling anxious. However, the short answer to your question is yes, you do need to comply with any reasonable management request to return to work.

The key here is “reasonable.” The government has published specific guidance for different businesses on the steps they can take to minimise coronavirus transmission. If you don’t think they’re complying, or are putting your health at risk, you should talk to them about this.

Similarly, they should listen to your concerns about using public transport. You could, for instance, ask to travel at a quieter time of day.

And the government has said that if you’re unable to work because of childcare issues your employer can continue to furlough you.

We would suggest approaching this as a problem that you and your boss can solve together. But if you do get a bad reaction, you could report your employer to the Health and Safety Executive. You should also get advice about your legal rights in this situation.

You can get free confidential advice from Citizens Advice Cheshire West Owing to the Coronavirus outbreak we have closed our offices to face to face services.  We are providing advice through adviceline: 0344 5766111 Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and by email and webchat accessed through the Citizens Advice website.  Please click on this link for up to date information on our services.

Copyright Citizens Advice.  The advice provided in this advice column was published on 20 May 2020.  For the most up-to-date advice, please visit our Citizens Advice public siteYou can also read guidance on how the UK is affected by coronavirus on GOV.UK. This guidance from the government is updated every day.